The airline industry has finally realized that business aviation is a best kept secret and has recently been maneuvering to offer its passengers a piece of the action. A number of leading European flagcarriers–Lufthansa, KLM and Swiss International Air Lines–now provide scheduled services with long-range Airbus A319 LRs and Boeing Business Jets (BBJs), all flown on their behalf by Swiss executive aviation provider PrivatAir.
Swiss International Air Lines
Thirty-five years of A300/A310 manufacturing will come to an end next July, when Airbus hands over the last A300-600 on order. Although it collected orders for 821 examples over the life of the program, the A300/310 series has seen flagging deliveries over the past few years as market demand for newer designs progressively overtook Airbus’ original offerings.
Eclipse and its Swiss customer Aviace have entered litigation over the delivery of 112 VLJs. Aviace sued the manufacturer early this month for breach of contract for allegedly refusing to deliver the aircraft ordered in 2002. The Swiss company was one of the earliest large customers for the Eclipse 500 very light jet and was established to launch a low-cost air taxi business. Both parties declined to comment while in litigation.
The company that launched the Saab 340 into prominence in Europe will soon bow out of the turboprop flying business altogether, when Swiss International Airlines bids adieu to the last of its 50-seat Saab 2000s this month and embarks on a restructuring of its regional jet fleet that will also banish all nine of the carrier’s Embraer 145s by March.
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Under an agreement signed last month with Swiss International Air Lines and airport authorities, Jet Aviation Basel has moved into the Crossair hangar in Basel. The 53,000-sq-ft hangar brings the company’s total hangar space to 215,000 sq ft.
Swiss International Air Lines will once again segregate its regional operations under the auspices of a new subsidiary, the company announced last month. Named Swiss European Air Lines, the wholly owned operating unit will take possession of Swiss’ remaining Embraer ERJ 145 and Avro RJ85/100 fleet before year-end.
Larger aircraft and lower costs have produced a winning formula for Swiss International Airlines’ regional operations–despite high fuel prices not entirely offset by surtaxes on tickets. Swiss announced an overall profit of SFr76 million ($61 million) for the first half of the year and stresses that regional, European and intercontinental flights have all contributed to the positive result.
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